It was the only free weekend I had in my 5-weddings-in-6-weeks stretch, and we were determined to take advantage of the fall weather and get some fun in before winter came.
Our original plan was to go down to Forestville Mystery Cave in Southern Minnesota. We had heard good things and we both love caves, so we thought it'd be a good spot to try. However, the day we left was cold, rainy and incredibly windy. We borrowed my parents' Astro van and Matt's family's pop up camper for the trip, and driving that rig down the road was like slithering a snake down the highway. Wayyy to the left, correct wayyy to the right. As someone who gets car sick easily, I wasn't feeling well by the Brainerd Welcome Center, a whopping 12 minutes into the 4 1/2 hour trip...
We thought we'd tough it out and hoped it might get better the further south we got. After passing Little Falls and being ready for some serious dramamine, we decided that we couldn't take this wind/swerving for 4 more hours. I called my mom and she told me about two campgrounds on the south side of Mille Lacs lake that I had apparently been to when I was little. She remembered them as being great spots and thought they'd be fun for us. We looked at the map, called to see if Mille Lacs Kathio had availability and were thankfully able to transfer our spot from Forestville to Kathio, without losing any money.
After checking in, we pulled into our campsite right as a huge downpour started. Ha, go figure!
Thankfully, we'd packed raincoats so we put them on, left Remy in the crate in the van, and got to work. Setting up the camper was easy, but trying to figure out the canopy and a screen tent we brought was not. 45 minutes later with ornery moods, no canopy and no screen tent, we decided to take a nap in the pop up camper.
The rest of Friday as well as Saturday were rainy and wet. We read books in bed, ate snacks, went to archeological day at the nature center, and tried to cook and have campfires with really damp wood.
Then, Sunday came with brilliant sunshine and blue skies. Over the next two days, we took lots of nature walks, went geocaching for the first time ever, let Remy explore, made tin foil dinners and s'mores. We also soaked up the changing leaves. At this time, the leaves were just beginning to change in Brainerd, but they were further ahead at Kathio and around Garrison. It was close to peak and it was gorgeous!
Then, it was time to pack up and go home. Thankfully, we were only 35 minutes from home instead of the planned 4 1/2 hours, so that made the trip home much easier. Since it was a place neither of us had been to [or remembered being at], we felt like we were far from home. But then we'd see garbage dumpsters that said "Garrison Disposal" on them, and we'd be like "oh yeah, we aren't far from home!"
Major thanks to the Millers and the Hensels for loaning us the camper and the van. We made great family memories and were able to get some R&R in the middle of a very busy season. Now, to make plans for next year!